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Wartime chidren in emotional reunion

PUBLISHED: 11:18 06 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:34 05 July 2010

Secondary Grammar School evacuees

Secondary Grammar School evacuees

SIXTY-EIGHT years ago, Lowestoft children of all ages were uprooted from their homes as the threat of war moved towards the east coast.

Around 3,500 children and teachers were evacuated to Derbyshire as the fighting arrived on the town's doorstep.

SIXTY-EIGHT years ago, Lowestoft children of all ages were uprooted from their homes as the threat of war moved towards the east coast.

Around 3,500 children and teachers were evacuated to Derbyshire as the fighting arrived on the town's doorstep.

Some left the town never to return, while others came back to continue their lives at Britain's most easterly point, but whatever their story, all are invited to a reunion taking place this weekend.

Tomorrow morning ex-wartime evacuees and their partners will be gathering at the Stella Maris Hall, Gordon Road, Lowestoft, for their yearly reunion event.

The event, which is organised by the Lowestoft Evacuees Committee, is held on the first Saturday of June every year, marking the occasion when the town's children left their homes behind for the safety of the Midlands.

On Monday, June 2, 1940, thousands said goodbye to their families as the town's schools were sent to different towns in Derbyshire, including Creswell, Clowne and Barlborough.

Among those evacuated was 11-year-old Derek Aldred. He was evacuated together with the rest of his classmates from Gorleston Road School to Barlborough, spending five years there before returning to Lowestoft.

“As well as the reunion we also have an outing to Derbyshire in July when we visit the actual villages that we went to,” said Mr Aldred, 80.

“Some are still in touch with the people they lived with, while one or two never came back, as they married and stayed up there.”

Around 100 people are expected to descend on the Stella Maris Hall from 10.30am tomorrow, as they reminisce and trawl through old photographs of their time in Derbyshire.

Mr Aldred will be showing his recently compiled DVD of evacuation history from pictures gathered by the group during the reunion, and secretary Clive Capps will report on recent developments of the group in Norfolk and on the forthcoming Derbyshire visit.

Chairman Chris Brooks will report on the Evacuees, Reunion Association and next year's national commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the war evacuation at St Paul's Cathedral, London.

The Lowestoft group will attend this event on September 1, 2009, and tickets costing £20 can be booked at the reunion for a non-refundable deposit of £5, with the final balance of £15 to be paid next March. The cost of the coach trip to London will be additional to this, but it is hoped it will be subsidised.

Tomorrow's event, which runs until 1.30pm, is free but former evacuees are asked to bring some food for a shared buffet lunch and/or a raffle prize to cover expenses and raise funds.

For any further details about the event or the committee, call Mr Aldred on 01502 572793.

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